More Horses Die at Calgary Stampede


The deaths of three horses at the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day event where people can go to pretend that we still live in the Wild West, has spurred outrage from animal advocates and calls to ban chuckwagon races for good.

The accident that lead to the deaths happened on Thursday during the GMC Rangeland Derby when the lead horse faltered on the backstretch of the race and collapsed, taking down the three other horses and the wagon with him and causing a collision with one of the outriders.

The lead horse died on the scene, two others had to be euthanized on the track due to their injuries and a fourth will need surgery. A necropsy on the lead horse revealed the cause of death was a ruptured aortic aneurysm near the kidney, according to a press release.

“This pre-existing condition is undetectable in animals and could have ruptured at any time of exercise,” explains Dr. Evans. “The condition is a weakening in the wall of the aorta–the major vessel leading from the heart. This area of weakened wall can rupture and the horse then bleeds out internally. The rupture occurred in the abdomen, which explains the hind limb weakness noted in the horse prior to the collapse.”

The incident has animal advocates understandably calling for a ban on chuckwagon races.

“It always shocks and infuriates me … you’d think after 100 years they’d come to realize they cannot prevent deaths,” said Michael Alvarez-Toye of the Calgary Animal Rights Coalition.

He said the group is organizing a protest on Saturday “to mark the occasion of the Calgary Stampede’s 100th Anniversary of cruel and callous acts perpetrated upon animals.”

Sadly, this tragedy comes after weeks of announcements about improvements to safety that were made after six horses died in 2010. A total of 50 have died since 1986.

The Stampede began a Fitness to Compete program, which increased veterinary inspections before and after races, breaks between events and reduced the number of outriders for each wagon from four to two to make more room on the track, but it hasn’t helped protect horses.

“Clearly, the Stampede’s much publicized safety improvements have failed to make the race any safer,” said Peter Fricker, a spokesman for the Vancouver Humane Society, which supports a ban. “Horses continue to die needlessly. This has to stop.”

According to a statement, the Stampede will be using the results of the necropsy to make further improvements.

“Nowadays, in veterinary medicine there’s very much a push on for evidence-based decision making,” said Evans. “We want hard scientific data.”

Maybe, nowadays, since horses keep having heart attacks, dropping dead and crashing into each other  that could be all the evidence we need to stop scratching our heads and investigating this mind-boggling conundrum and just solve the problem by doing away with chuckwagon races instead.



Please sign and share the petition asking the Calgary Stampede to ban chuckwagon races.


Related Stories:

Horse Tripping Video Reignites Call for a Ban

Video Exposes Rodeo Cruelty to Horses and Calves

Horse Slaughter Legalized in the U.S.


Justingaberial J.
Past Member 4 years ago

This blog site has really a huge collection of articles with impressive information.

Rhiannon Bloomfield

This is such a cruel, unnecessary so called 'sport'. Horses do not deserve this torture and certainly needs to end.

Margaret Paddock
M A Paddock5 years ago

As cruel as this event is it is no worse than rodeos and horse racing in other parts of the world. Mankind is a cruel creature and money designates a lot of his activities whether safe or not.

You would think the owners, riders, vets, trainers and others involved would be speaking up the loudest to end the events that hurt others. But there is a lot at stake money wise for these people that see it as a job or to boost their income. Yes, the west actually all countries were helped to develop with the use of horses and other animals but this is the 21st century. We should have learned something by now and become more compassionate by a long stretch.

DaretoCare Still

You have the unmitigated gall to wander over here and voice your outrage about my country when yours offers it`s rodeo animals ZERO protection and whilst your BLM seems to have a mandate given by your government to deal with those icons of the American west, the wild mustangs any way they please. Nice how ``you Americans`` condone running the hoofs off newborn foals in 100 degree heat .. See how that works Mark? See how much `power` the average person has over the actions of their government? Freaking a$$hAT - my friends and I have been signing petitions to have the seal hunt shut down longer than you’ve been drawing breath. How about engaging your brain before your mouth next time you want to trash an entire nation, or at least consider your own countries track record. Oh. Hey, thanks for Monsanto, eh? And that whole “corporations are people” thing – I’m sure that’s going to make the world a better place

DaretoCare Still

Hey Mark, maybe before you go throwing stones at Canada - MY country - you could clean up your own dirt yard. Especially re equine welfare. How about that donkey roping stuff? ( Horse tripping anybody? Horse tripping happens in Washington state, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado -where it has become a part of their state fair rodeo program . ( Omak Suicide race? In the previous 25 years, 21 horses have died, including three in 2004, with countless injuries. ( Where the hell are your humane societies I wonder?? Where’s your outrage? Infamous indeed. The Calgary Humane Societies protections officers attend on-site throughout the 10 days of the Stampede to ensure compliance with the Alberta Animal Protection Act. Over the past decade or so, they have met regularly with the Stampede and provided ongoing research-based recommendations for improving animal care and handling practices. These efforts have resulted in more than 35 changes - and counting - in the way animals are managed and treated at the Stampede. The Stampede, in turn, has taken many of these changes to other rodeos across North America (that includes your country) It seems to me that there are many (if not most) rodeo`s which have zero oversight by a humane society - why aren`t we hearing about them? You have the unmitigated gall to wander over here and voice your

Mark Donners
Mark Donner5 years ago

Canada cruelty..again. Not even surprising, since Canada is infamous for being as vicious as China in the way it treat animals. Their corrupt government is one of the most barbaric and anti environment in the world, with that psychopath Harper leading the charge in their seal baby clubbing horror bloodbath, They welcome the import of horses to slaughter and the import of dog fur from China, why wouldn't anybody be surprised Canada would indulge in blood sports like this? Canada is a revolting country.

Lani Mor
Yolani M5 years ago

this needs to end..signed

Kim D.
Kimberly D5 years ago

I don't think horses should be run to death either on the racetrack or in a fake 'chuckwagon' race. I doubt the horse who died from the ruptured aortic aneurism near his kidney would have chosen to die in this manner either.

There needs to be an alternative for race horses other than racing or straight to a slaughter house in Mexico or Canada. That's one of the many things wrong with the American horse racing 'business' right now. The overproduction of foals in hopes of the next Secretariat. What to do with the excess? It's certainly not the horses fault that humans are greedy.

Celine P.
CĂ©line P5 years ago

Petition signed and shared.

naomi cohen
naomi cohen5 years ago

i have to stand by beth. horses love to run, but to run them till they are broken would not be what any horse would choose. there is an alternative to either racing until you die, or going off to a slaughterhouse. these animals are often sent to a sanctuary, and every animal that is old and weak should be given that respect.